Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144895
Title: CLERICAL RESPONSES TO THE SECOND SIGHT IN THE 17TH AND 18TH CENTURY GÀIDHEALTACHD
Authors: LOO ZHI EN
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2018
Citation: LOO ZHI EN (2018-04-23). CLERICAL RESPONSES TO THE SECOND SIGHT IN THE 17TH AND 18TH CENTURY GÀIDHEALTACHD. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: From the late 17th to the late 18th centuries, Church of Scotland ministers based in Scotland’s Gàidhealtachd faced the need to respond to the belief in the second sight, a form of involuntary divination experienced by some of their parishioners. Scholars considering this belief have tended to analyse the second sight as a belief which drew mixed attitudes from the Church, or as an element of elite discourses. However, it can be suggested that there is analytical value in considering the historical responses of individual clergymen to the second sight, this approach allowing for a better understanding of how clergymen dealt with the second sight, their reasons for adopting their respective approaches, and wider external factors which conditioned these responses. This thesis thus argues that individual clergymen in the Gàidhealtachd from the late 17th to the late 18th centuries responded to the second sight in a variety of specific ways. These responses were attenuated as the second sight was not illegal. The involuntary nature of the ability and the fact that seers often saw it as a burden acted to further condition clerical responses. Some clergymen morally condemned possession of the second sight, in line with Europe-wide ecclesiastical attitudes towards occult beliefs. Others were sceptics, rejecting belief in the phenomenon altogether. Yet others defended the reality and possession of the second sight across the period, doing so in reaction to the growing prevalence of mechanistic philosophy and the parallel decline in elite belief in supernatural belief, which they believed threatened religion. The existence of alternatives to a demonic origin for the second sight allowed these defenders to argue that the second sight was not necessarily objectionable; the ability could thus be used as proof for the existence of sprits, thereby vindicating the key assumptions of religious belief.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144895
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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